Premium underdog: Hands on with the Huawei P30

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2019 12:42 PM

MANILA -- Huawei's P30, without the "pro" branding, has 3 cameras instead of 4 and comes with a smaller screen and battery. On paper, at least, it's a step down from its bigger sibling.

But the P30 is P14,000 cheaper than the P30 Pro and retains much of the power of the pricier variant that in our initial hands on with the device, it feels more like a premium underdog than a compromise.

WHAT'S DIFFERENT?

The P30 has a 6.1-inch compared to the 6.47-inch panel on the P30 Pro. Both screens are OLED, where blacks are deeper and richer. Last year's P20 has an LCD screen while Huawei reserved the OLED for the P20 Pro.

The P30's screen is also flat, which some people prefer (myself included), while the P30 Pro has curved sides, similar to that on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+.

It has a 40MP wide angle lens with f/1.8 aperture, a 16MP ultra wide lens with f/2.2 and an 8MP telephoto with f/2.4. The P30 Pro has a fourth time of flight or depth sensor for more accurate "bokeh" or background blur effects.

Huawei's P30 has 3 cameras instead of 4 on the P30 Pro. It also has a smaller screen and battery

Huawei's P30 has 3 cameras instead of 4 on the P30 Pro. It also has a smaller screen and battery

Huawei's P30 has 3 cameras instead of 4 on the P30 Pro. It also has a smaller screen and battery

Huawei's P30 has 3 cameras instead of 4 on the P30 Pro. It also has a smaller screen and battery

Huawei's P30 has 3 cameras instead of 4 on the P30 Pro. It also has a smaller screen and battery

The P30 has a 3,650 mAh battery compared to 4,200 mAh on the P30 Pro. It has 8GB of RAM but comes with 128GB of storage, half of that on the Pro.

The P30 has a 3.5-millimeter audio jack and an earpiece speaker, both absent on the Pro, which relies on screen vibrations for the user to hear phone calls.

Both phones are powered by Huawei's own Kirin 980 with a speedy EMUI 9.1 skin over Android 9 Pie. The fingerprint sensors are embedded in the display.

In the hand and from afar, the P30 doesn't look much different from the P30 Pro unless the two phones are held side by side. The P30 feels much like the P20 Pro in terms of size.

It comes in the same gradient color variants of the P30 Pro. Until Huawei releases the auburn "Amber Sunrise" variant locally, the "Breathing Crystal" hue, which shifts from baby blue to purple to gold is the most eye-catching.

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO USE

The P30's camera produced sharp images with vibrant colors during our one-week long hands on. Unless you used the P30 Pro, you won't miss its 50 times zoom.

Unplugged at around 3:30 a.m., we took the phone backpacking across Pangasinan province and by the time of our last bus ride, at around 6:30 p.m., it still had 15 percent left in the tank.

It's shaping up to be a solid battery performer since our day was filled with taking photos, browsing social media feeds, navigating with Google Maps, and answering emails and messages.

The 6-inch flat panel was also easier to manage and use one handed. We had to turn it on at full brightness to check the camera viewfinder when taking photos under the noon sun.

Even without the P30 Pro's crazy zoom, the P30 still took detailed zoomed in shots, like this picture of the moon rising beside a crucifix in Manaoag, Pangasinan.

A shot of the moon at dusk using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

Colors were bright and punchy like in these photos of a souped-up jeepney and a stacked restaurant counter in Angeles City, Pampanga.

A shot of a jeepney using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News
A shot of a restaurant counter using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

Low light shots were also very similar to that on the P30 Pro, with much detail and contrast, like this interior shot of the Betis Church in Guagua, Pampanga.

A shot of the Betis Church interior using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

The Master AI feature on the P30 livened up the magenta hues of this shot of flowers while keeping much of the details on the church bell tower in the background.

A shot of flowers and a church bell tower using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

We will be posting a full review of the Huawei P30 in the coming days. The P30 and the P30 Pro went on sale last April 13.